Stones Strip Down, Have A Laugh On New Album

When Mick Jagger had qualms about recording a new Rolling Stones album at his house in France, Keith Richards had a simple retort. "I said to Mick, 'Listen, once upon a time, we cut a record in the So

When Mick Jagger had qualms about recording a new Rolling Stones album at his house in France, Keith Richards had a simple retort. "I said to Mick, 'Listen, once upon a time, we cut a record in the South of France in my house, and it's called "Exile on Main Street," and now it's your turn'," he tells Billboard in his first interview about the project.

The interview appears in the Aug. 6, 2005, issue of the magazine, on newsstands tomorrow (July 30).

No one would dare try to hold up the Stones' forthcoming album, "A Bigger Bang", to what is considered one of the greatest rock'n'roll records of all time. Still, executives at Virgin and parent company EMI, which will release the album on Sept. 6, believe the group has created its strongest album in years.

"It feels so real and so authentic," Virgin Records U.S. chairman/CEO Matt Serletic tells Billboard. "With this one, they've really revitalized themselves."

Calling Billboard from tour rehearsals in Toronto, Jagger says the spirited play between he and Richards and switching up instruments helped bring a renewed energy to the album's creation.

"I was playing drums and all that sort of stuff I usually never do and that was fun," he says. "Happily for the fans, my drums never made it on the record apart from one or two little hits that were saved. Keith and I were just having a laugh with a lot of it."

Many of the tracks feature just Jagger, Richards and drummer Charlie Watts. Apart from guitarist Ron Wood, the only other musicians on the album are longtime Stones associates Darryl Jones (bass) and Chuck Leavell (keyboards).

"There's no hiding place if there's only three of you in the room," Jagger says. Or as Richards puts it, the album is "raw Stones."

In November, EMI will release a Stones rarities disc featuring B-sides and songs from albums that have gone in and out of print. The collection will be sold through traditional retail and Starbucks.

Also tentatively planned for the holidays will be a special edition of "A Bigger Bang." "The content will come from the band and it will hopefully include extra tracks, remixes, video content, Web links and ringtones," Virgin U.S. executive VP of marketing Randy Miller says. The special edition will be available as a CD and DVD or a DualDisc.